Fire

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“if they don’t like you for being yourself, be yourself even more.” taylor swift
My worth used to come from being loved. How many people could I convince to love me? How deeply and madly could I make a boy love me? How could I change and contort to fit their needs? How small and agreeable could I be in order to win their affection? How many times could I make them say, “You’re too good/perfect/wonderful.”
Then I would break. The perfect venire would crack and my true, weird, strong, loud, funny, imperfect self would emerge. And they would be confused. Left wondering where that perfect, quiet little doll had gone. The ideal mold the world had stuffed me into, the one it stuffs all girls and women into, quietly suffocated me until my lungs burst.
Then would come the burning. I had been containing my fire for so long, quietly burning, that when it came out it spit and smoked. It rushed like fire from a dragon. Wasn’t that who those knights were always trying to slay? The dragon that went away to an abandoned castle for peace and rest and quiet, the dragon trying so desperately to escape a world that didn’t understand her, to live as her true self- that is far too scary a thought for those knights.
I would breathe fire as criticism. As faults of theirs. “Too mean, unattentive, boring, passive, weak, cruel, not enough.” And then I would push and push and push, hoping they would end it. End my torture, the fire I had kept contained still burning me up. How could I end it? How could I break up with this boy that had loved me so? That had fallen in love with my imposter.
They never ended it. And so I would move on, see who else was on the horizon. Who else could I introduce the perfect bubbly mold to, to escape the boy that had truly seen me, and then I would jump effortlessly from that boy to the next, leaving burned ruins in my wake.
Then I became a mama.
I grew and birthed the most beautiful little boy. My insides moved and shifted to make room for him. My body stretched and grew, and morphed just for him. He let the fire out. Carrying and creating him, bringing him earthside, broke the mold. It shattered the mold into so many pieces it couldn’t be repaired. I was free.
Becoming a mama to my sweet boy saved me. It showed me my power and my true self. It showed me that women are warriors and dragons and witches and healers and fucking powerful.
I spent my whole life coming back to myself. Coming back to the kind, strong, opinionated, happy, wild woman my parents raised. You are not beholden to the lies the world tells you. You are not meant to be small and perfect and agreeable.
You are meant to be you. In all forms. In all your weird and wonderful attributes. You are meant to love yourself. To know yourself. You are not made of the love that people give to you. You are worthy and whole just as you are. Not for the roles and titles you have. Not for the compliments and pats on the head that others give you. You are enough, just as you are.
 Embrace all that is you, my love.
Whatever it is that makes you weird or “too much” is probably the most wonderful thing about you. And the opinion that others have of you? It’s not a mirror. Good or bad, that external validation or condemnation has nothing to do with you.
“i am mine, before i am anyone else’s.” -in
More soon,
Bonnie Rae xx

Self

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The Invitation
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting
Your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
For love, for your dream,
For the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life’s betrayals,
Or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain,
Mine or your own,
Without moving
To hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy,
Mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty
Even when it is not pretty every day,
And if you can source your own life
From its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
Yours and mine,
And still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone,
And do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
In the center of the fire with me
And not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
With yourself,
And if you truly like the company you keep
In the empty moments.
Grief is a cycle. Self-discovery is a process. Growth takes time. All things have seasons, including you. This past month has been a season of hibernation. My body wanted to sleep and shut down. The heat and the constant busy of life felt overwhelming.
But then, a break in the storm. Miles’ laugh and the flutter of his eyelashes, the raise of his eyebrows. His warm hug and flushed cheeks. His little legs running to me, arms outstretched, calling, “Mama!”
A visit from two beautiful friends. Friends that love me and see me and are strong and kind, they will not let me believe the lies I tell myself. They know I am worthy, I am strong, they know my heart better than anyone. So do I.
A reminder that work has a purpose. All people and experiences are lessons. What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution. Ram Das.
You are worth finding. You are worth knowing, worth loving. You and all of your mess and growth and regression and joy. You and all of your layers.
More soon,
Bonnie Rae xx
More:
This podcast
This song

 

 

Endure

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“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” Frida Kahlo
I’m healing. I’m rediscovering myself. I’m starting over.
What makes us who we are? What makes up the light and core of our being? What stays stable and constant when all else falls away?
Life is not easy for any of us. If you are waiting for things to right themselves, to be perfect or blissfully happy in order for you to better yourself or change your life, my dear you will be waiting a long time.
Because as cliche as it sounds, life is the journey- not the destination.
I recently created an Instagram story, asking for any questions you had for me. One question kept appearing in different forms. My favorite form it took was this, “How the fuck are you so happy?”
Variations of this question repeated over and over. How are you okay? How did you transition mentally into a new space? How are you adjusting to your new life? If I were you, I suppose I would wonder this too.
Being left by the person you’ve promised your heart and life to does strange things to you. It shatters your sense of self, hits your ego, breaks your heart. It feels like being kicked repeatedly when you’re already down. I want to be very clear, I was not always in this beautiful place. And I still have a long way to go, but that is life.
I did not know it at the time of my separation, when my husband told me he no longer loved me and then moved on emotionally and physically to another life- that I was already half dead. I had bent and morphed and folded myself into someone unrecognizable. I gave up values, dreams, a healthy sex life, love languages, hopes, daily self-care, well-being, and more to try to become the person he would accept. I lost myself completely. I did this to myself willingly, no one made me do this. A pattern so many women repeat because we are told to make ourselves small and flexible and perfect and perky and perfect to please men. To please the world.
I vacillated wildly between strong, value-driven, unshakeable me and a quiet, weeping, desperate shadow. I was giving up who I was in order to be loved and admired. I broke my own heart.
You can’t fold and bend your way into real love and admiration. You have to show up fully and authentically and messily in order to find it. And guess what? When you finally show up, some people aren’t going to like it. And when you go through something big that makes the real, authentic you show up in an unshakeable way? The person who doesn’t like it may be your husband.
It may be your best friend, your sister, your aunt, your coworker. There will be an endless barrage of people that tell you to stop, tell you to quit, tell you your dreams are too big, that you’ve become too loud, too emotional, too much.
You were not made to be small. You were not formed from love and stardust and light only to give up or in when life gets hard.
Babe, someone else doesn’t get to tell you who you can be. And if you need a cheerleader along the way? Find them. Find people that feel like sunshine and love and fresh air and stay close to them. Better yet? Become your own cheerleader. Wake up so damn excited about your dreams and goals and life that when those naysayers knock on your door or enter your heart- it doesn’t matter.
Be so in love with yourself and your life that you can’t even hear them. And the ones that really try to hurt and hold you back? Let them go.
“I refuse to live as half of myself because other people can’t handle all of me,” Rachel Hollis
More soon,
Bonnie Rae xx
All photos by The Commoneer
Something to inspire
Something to begin
Something to make you smile 

Grateful

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(Not pictured or finished yet: Miles’ room, our bathroom, and our back deck)
Minimalism has become quite the trend. With #slowliving and curated Instagram feeds of gorgeous, simple interiors. People living in tiny houses or vans, selling all their possessions to travel. I think the popularity of minimalism and a slower way of life are a reaction to the endless consumerism (and decimation of our earth) of the last few decades. I’m not bothered by the trendiness of it all.
I am only bothered by the reaction some people have to curated minimalism. Simple, slow, sustainable living is not about having a perfectly organized pantry with vintage ball jars all in a row. It is not about a stunning nursery with muted tones and no toys, appearing completely untouched.
Minimalism is a repeated daily choice to be intentional about what you allow into your life. It is about responding to “want” and “need” of new items with gratitude for all that you have now instead. Minimalism is about surrounding yourself with items that make you smile and spark joy in your heart and thanking them for serving such a beautiful purpose.
I have found, that minimalism at its root is gratitude. It is waking up grateful for the comfortable bed you slept in, the soft sheets and warm blanket. It is delighting in a hot shower and clean, fluffy towel. It is finding elation when you have a stocked pantry and fridge full of organic produce for you and your baby.
This isn’t about stuff. This isn’t about a curated number of items (although decluttering challenges can be fun and life changing). It is about waking with a grateful heart and not forgetting just how lucky we all are.
If you have a device and the time to read this blog post, think about how endlessly fortunate you are. You have a life where you can take a moment and read something that interests or delights you, on a device that so much of the world will not have access to in their lifetime. This isn’t about guilt. This isn’t about shaming yourself and kicking yourself for all that you own or past purchases. It is about choosing gratitude and joy in your life again and again, everyday.
I have the same temptations as others to go to Target and buy the latest cute items on their shelves. Tempted to let the joy of a new purchase fill me up and excite me, but it is fleeting. When I feel the urge to do that now I work to recall all that I already have. What is already in my home that creates a sense of warmth and joy? I am obsessively grateful.
People ask me how in the world I am so joy filled, happy, and okay after all that has happened in these past few months. I immediately respond with: gratitude.
Being grateful immediately interrupts anxiety and negative thought patterns. It alters your universal vibration. It immediately shifts you from negative to positive and the universe returns your energy in kind.
Our beautiful little apartment is simple. It is light filled and full of fun, colorful items that I love. Each item is intentionale, beautiful and has a place- a home to return to to rest after we use it.
Every day when I come home, I thank this little apartment for caring for us. For coming into our lives and being just what we needed. One day, Miles and I will live in an eco home that we build on our farm sanctuary, and when that time comes I know I will look back on the peaceful, simplicity of this apartment with a grateful heart. You can simultaneously yearn and work for more while still being so grateful for all you have now.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more..It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie
More soon,
Bonnie Rae xx
For more gratitude inspiration:
the five minute journal
gratitude meditation
the Ikonns’ podcast